Daily Mass Reflections - 9/12
“.....the world in its present form is passing away.”
Today’s first Reading (1 Corinthians 7:25-31) reminds us of our need to approach our spiritual lives with a decided sense of urgency, much like the author of this letter. Perhaps a bit confusing at first, Saint Paul appears to be all over the map as he opines about virgins, the sanctity of marriage, single life and those who are called to it, to “let those having wives act as not having them, those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not owning, those using the world as not using it fully.” As is so very often the case in Scripture, context is key. Paul believed wholeheartedly that Jesus’ second coming would occur during his lifetime. This drove his passion to speak and live the truth. For him, repentance and conversion was an ASAP matter and he devoted his life to delivering that message.
We could learn a lot from Paul.
The Gospel (Luke 6:20-26) takes us through Luke’s version of the Beatitudes. A bit more succinct and perhaps lesser known than Matthew’s recitation, which we read about a month ago, the Beatitudes are about detachment. They encourage a “spiritual detachment” wherein we become ambivalent to worldly pursuits so that they do not become a substitute for God’s righteous place in our hearts, minds and souls.
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for the Kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets
in the same way.”
Being poor in material possessions eliminates the distractions that keep us from becoming rich in God’s wisdom. Maintaining a spiritual hunger protects us from developing a lukewarm heart and potentially falling away from our faith. Remaining solemnly focused and respectful leads to eternal joy. And of course whenever we are ridiculed or ostracized for defending our Catholic Faith, it’s hardly a surprise; we know the history of our Catholic roots and those who walked before us, with Jesus standing tall as the best example of that.
Becoming indifferent to the trappings of the secular world is but one step in the journey, albeit a major one. The Beatitudes are etched into the roadmap, a signpost if you will. Through the pursuit of this indifference, we in turn grow in our pursuit and desire for all things eternal.